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FAFSA income limit?

jazz/shreddermomjazz/shreddermom Posts: 1,187Registered User Senior Member
I've searched for the answer, and I just haven't found it. Is there an income level above which there is definitively no hope for aid thru FAFSA?

(I am aware that some schools want a FAFSA filed even to be considered for talent or merit scholarships, and that filing a FAFSA is required for certain loans. But that's not my question.)

I simply want to know: How much income is simply too much to qualify for need-based aid?

Thanks.
Post edited by jazz/shreddermom on
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Replies to: FAFSA income limit?

  • applicannotapplicannot Posts: 4,366Registered User Senior Member
    Well, Stafford loans are available for ALL students. The only grant money offered by FAFSA is the Pell Grant. Okay, I think there are some smaller grants as well, but they usually total less than $1000. The ceiling for the Pell Grant is an EFC of about $4700, which translates to an income around $40,000.
  • jazz/shreddermomjazz/shreddermom Posts: 1,187Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks, but not exactly what I'm asking. I know it's a sensitive question, and perhaps this is why nobody wants to answer:

    Is there an income level at which there is no point filing the FAFSA because no NON-loan financial aid will be granted?
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,996Registered User Senior Member
    I know it's a sensitive question, and perhaps this is why nobody wants to answer:
    There is really no definitive answer to your question. The FAFSA generated EFC is based on a combination of income, assets, size of family, number of college students in that family. It can be affected by the source of the income (income from work gets allowances that income not from work does not), the state the applicant is from (each state is given different allowances in the EFC formula), the amount of federal tax paid etc etc. Student A may have the same family income as student B but may come out with a way different EFC because he comes from a family of 5 with 3 in college, while Student B comes from a 2 person family with just 1 in college.

    Also the aid is based on things other than the EFC generated by FAFSA. As you know FAFSA itself does not give you any aid. The aid is awarded by the school. If you have an EFC of 20,000 and the school costs 18,000 then there will be no need based aid. If you have an EFC of 20,000 and the school costs $45,000 then there may be some aid (if the school provides institutional aid, at that EFC there would be no federal grant aid).

    As far as federal grant aid is concerned the main federal grant is the Pell. For 2009-2010 the EFC cut off for the Pell was 4617. That would require a fairly low income. But student A with a family of 5 and 2 in college might have that low an EFC with a parent income of $70,000 while Student B with a family of 2 and only 1 in college might have to have a parent income of $40,000 or less to get that low an EFC.
  • jazz/shreddermomjazz/shreddermom Posts: 1,187Registered User Senior Member
    Thank you so much. That's very helpful.
  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    I don't think it's a sensitive question, just an impossible one for generalization. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford will give aid to some families making $200K/yr. Most schools will offer little to anyone making 6 figures. Others practice enrollment management and give discounts to all they know will be comparing their cost to the local state school's.

    And as the above poster said, assets play a big role too.

    The one generalization that seems to work is that without exceptional assets, most EFC's seem to be one-quarter to one-third of AGI for the middle class and up. Then consider that most schools don't meet need anyway.
  • jazz/shreddermomjazz/shreddermom Posts: 1,187Registered User Senior Member
    swimcatmom, your message box is full.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,418Registered User Senior Member
    So...just for the sake of the OP's question...

    Say a family has an EFC of $100k (because they have a very high income/assets/whatever) and only 1 student in college.

    That one student can still file a FAFSA and qualify to take out a $5500 Stafford loan right? but it will be unsubsidized, right? or wrong?
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,996Registered User Senior Member
    right? or wrong?
    Wrong. Depends on the cost of the school. The subsidized loan is awarded if there is 'need'. If the EFC is $30,000 and the school COA is $35,000 then there is 'need' of $5,000 so the student may get part as a subsidized loan. If the EFC is 30,000 and the school COA is $28,000 then there is no 'need' so the loan would have to be unsubsidized.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,418Registered User Senior Member
    swimcat...

    I gave a scenario where the family has an EFC of $100k and one student in college. No college has a COA that exceeds $100k, therefore my question stands. There would be no need, so the $5500 Stafford loan would be unsub. Right? :)
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,996Registered User Senior Member
    oops - I read it as income of $100k.

    There must be 'need' for there to be a subsidized loan. If there is no financial need then there is no subsidized loan. Only unsubsidized. Unsub is available whatever the EFC
    No college has a COA that exceeds $100k,
    Yet!! The max FAFSA EFC is 99,999 - probably was an outrageous amount relative to college cost when it was set at that. They may have to increase that sooner rather than later with the way college costs are going up :rolleyes: Wonder how many years it will be before some school goes over $100k a year. I think I read some schools are up at $55k+ this year. Crazy. Thankfully I'll be well past college stuff (and a lot of other stuff) but I expect it will happen in my lifetime (unless I meet an untimely demise). I hate to imagine what college will cost for, my as yet to be born, grandkids.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Posts: 22,871Registered User Senior Member
    Wonder how many years it will be before some school goes over $100k a year. I think I read some schools are up at $55k+ this year. Crazy.

    I am in college right now. I will have kids in college probably in 25 years (ish). It would NOT surprise me in the least if they hit that point. My parent's generation paid around $40/credit hour at the school I'm at, I pay around $350. I wonder if I could find out what their total COA was...

    Then again, there may be a backlash on universities because people can't pay $55k and part of the reason that sticker price keeps going up is because they need to keep giving out more and more financial aid. Eventually, something's gotta give, no? (Although, maybe not. Universities tend to not run like any other business in our country so they are quite tricky to make typical predictions about.)t
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,991Registered User Senior Member
    As posted by others...the max EFC is $99,000 which (right now) exceeds the annual cost of attendance for undergrads everywhere (that I know of). However, even IF your EFC exceeds the COA at a school, you can still take out an unsubsidized Stafford loan by completing the FAFSA.
  • applicannotapplicannot Posts: 4,366Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks, but not exactly what I'm asking. I know it's a sensitive question, and perhaps this is why nobody wants to answer:

    Is there an income level at which there is no point filing the FAFSA because no NON-loan financial aid will be granted?

    I did answer that question. The government does not grant non-loan financial aid to any income over a max of $60,000 (the very highest you can have for the Pell Grant). Now some schools will, obviously, and some of them require the CSS/PROFILE.
  • scottaascottaa Posts: 1,037Registered User Senior Member
    I did answer that question. The government does not grant non-loan financial aid to any income over a max of $60,000 (the very highest you can have for the Pell Grant).

    That doesn't even quite work because of the number of students in college could drive an $80,000 income down to a low enough efc to qualify.

    Comes back to there really is no income limit and there are no simple rules that apply in all circumstances.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,418Registered User Senior Member
    I think it would be safe to say that if you have a highish income - say over $80k - and you only have one child in college, you won't get federal aid - except for loans.
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